Friday, 11 May 2018


The Bewitching of Anne Gunter

A stage play in three acts by Mike Healey

I am in the process of writing a new stage play. It is about a young woman called Anne Gunter who, it was claimed, was possessed by the devil

This is a true story

 When possessed, Anne became hysterical and vomited pins. Her case came to the attention of the new King of England - James I, himself an expert on witchcraft

As both writer and painter, I try to visualise events on stage. 

Sometimes I seek inspiration from other sources and in this case I am drawn to Peter Greenaway's 2012 film 'Goltzius and the Pelican Company'

This controversial films tells the story of a 17th century Dutch printer who publishes a book of erotica, based on Biblical stories

Greenaway, as a painter himself, brings to his work a highly refined sensibility and mastery of many digital technologies - which give his films their unique aesthetic

I like the sharp use of monochrome, in both the way it is shot and the black and white costumes

Much of Greenaway's work has the appearance of being performed on stage, with the camera placed centrally and the orthogonals studiously observed

This is something that I can use in my stage play.

I am aiming for a Brechtian austerity but want my Jacobean costumes to provide a rich contrast. This Greenaway achieves in this film - and elsewhere in his work.

It is something from which we can all learn and apply to our own theatrical efforts.

Watch this space!


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